All photos in this Blogspot and those accessed in Google Images via the links in each report are my Copyright and may be saved for personal use only. They may not be republished elsewhere without the written permission of the Copyright holder.

Hello and welcome to my twice reinstated and updated photo reports of visits to narrow gauge model railway layouts and events! Following the sudden and untimely cessation of Fotopic in March 2011 and with it the loss of my photo galleries, I started this blog in order to try to keep my "Roving Reports" available to those who enjoy viewing them. I have linked this blogsite to the old galleries which I originally rebuilt and posted in albums in Picasaweb. Once all the old reports had been rebuilt, I have continued to add completely new ones to cover my visits to events from April 2011 onwards.

In August 2016 Google blocked access to Picasaweb in order to force everyone to use their "much better" Google Images, so I had to do the whole exercise again. Thanks! .

Meanwhile......Because of the way this Blogspot works, the most recent postings appear first and the oldest ones last. Each report contains a link to the Google photo album plus captions for that report. The link will take you to the front page of the Google Album for this report. Left click on the first photo and it will open into a manually operated slideshow. A panel should open alongside the image on the right showing the number of the photo and the caption text. If it does not appear, click on the small white disk top right of the photo panel and it will open. Move forward or backwards by clicking the right or left arrows on your keyboard. When you have finished viewing, click the back arrow showing top left of the photo panel and this will take you back to the album opening page.

Close it in the normal way by clicking on the "X" top right or click the return arrow top left of the Windows screen to return to the blog, depending on which browser you use. Once back in the blog, any report can be accessed sequentially from the blog by scrolling downwards and if required, click on the "older posts" link at the bottom of the list, or simply go to the Blog Archive on the right of the window and select any report by simply clicking on the title.

Saturday 30 April 2011

1 May 2010, Narrow Gauge Midlands, Wolverley near Kidderminster

The West Midlands Narrow Gauge Group held their members open day for 2010 at the Wolverley Memorial Hall just outside Kidderminster, on Saturday 1st May 2010.

Despite it being the May bank holiday weekend, and there being several concurrent narrow gauge distractions around the country (Porthmadog, Cleethorpes and Bognor Regis (SWING event) all come immediately to mind), there were still some 60 narrow gauge modellers who had their priorities right, and joined in for a very well organised fun, informal and friendly day. I travelled with Brian Guilmant as escort to the 009 Society salesmobile and Brian reported a very good day’s trading for this type of small event. 7 layouts attended and Allen Doherty brought his Worsley Works sales down from Manchester and additionally ran a soldering workshop that was much appreciated by those that participated.

Stars of the show undoubtedly were Jane Webb and Janet Hill of the 84th Birmingham Guides, who provided a superb refreshment service all day. All present were so impressed by the standard of sustenance provided that I was asked to re-open the travelling catering assessment column that I used to write for 009 News until the hatemail from supporters of those events that could only aspire to 1 or 2 stars for providing pink sludge filled sausage rolls and sour coffee caused me to go back to reporting on the trainsets exhibited instead. So, by popular request, it gave me great pleasure to award the Birmingham Guides Catering Team 5 stars with a lettuce leaf cluster on their woggles for their super service. Now back to the trains…….!

Thursday 28 April 2011

10 April 2010, Narrow Gauge South, Sparsholt College, Winchester

What a monster of a day! NGS this year, hosted by the Wessex NGM's and the final one to be organised by our retiring "chef du layout par excellence" Howard Coulson, was simply the biggest and many commented that in their opinion the best, one day narrow gauge show there has ever been. There were a total of 46 narrow gauge layouts, many of which were BIG ones, 33 of which were within the small scale bracket covered by the 009 Society who were concurrently holding their AGM at the venue, and there were no less than 23 trade and society/association stands in support. (which was amazingly described by one commentator on his website as “a smattering of traders”…..). Many of the layouts that attended would have easily been “star attractions” on their own at some lesser mainstream “national” and even “international” events. The fact that they were all gathered together and both celebrity and first time exhibits (of which there were a good number) were given equal standing, without any form of discrimination or elitism, which also occurs in some shows that I have attended, made the day the very friendly and informal one that all who have been to Sparsholt before appreciate so much, and the circumstances of this particular occasion made it a very special day as evidenced by the large number of visitors and participants who took the trouble to personally pay their own compliments at the end of what was a very long day for most who were there, particularly the hosting team!

In order to shoehorn an impression of the day into this gallery, I have had to severely restrict the number of photos that I have allowed for each layout in a quest to provide a photo souvenir for those that came and to show those that couldn’t come what a great variety of layouts there were, to just one or two in most cases. I have however managed (I think!) to include at least one photo of every layout that was present – I am quite pleased with myself at that, even though the pace of the day meant that all photos taken were quick opportunity auto-focus unposed snaps.  It took several days to recover my eyesight and feet from rushing from room to room from 0730 until close of play and viewing the whole show through a camera viewfinder! One of these days I will attend a show without a camera and I might actually get to see the layouts and enjoy the detail in them which you don’t see when trying to line up suitable photographic angles!

I don't know how other ng show organisers are going to match this one in future events, but if you did attend, then you will know that you participated in what will probably go down in the narrow gauge modelling annals as a unique and never to be repeated event! If you could have gone but didn't, or if you did go but only gave some of the rooms a passing glance and didn’t stay long enough to take in the full panoply of the day, then start kicking yourself now, you’ve only got yourself to blame!

7 March 2010, Romsey Model Railway Exhibition

I made a flying morning visit to Romsey on 7 March in order to take the first opportunity of seeing Howard Coulson's new HOe Belgian layout "Beaulieu les Mines". Like his previous well known East African "Eitomo", which clocked up over 100 exhibition attendances before passing to a new owner, the new layout is full of colour and once Howard has populated the busy and narrow streets of the town with figures, it will be a bustling scene that is full of life. Lots of potential and it was a pleasure to see the new layout "in the flesh" after the long months for Howard of getting it to an exhibitable state. A further opportunity to see this new layout will occur on 10 April at Narrow Gauge South.

An added bonus was another brief encounter with Graham Lindley's popular and also very colourful 009 "Lyddbridge", which I have photographed on numerous previous occasions, but there are always new angles to find and new items of stock to capture in the lens!

20 February 2010, Narrow Gauge South West, Shepton Mallet

Something strange going on down Zummerzet way! Why is it that whatever the weather has decided to do in February, it is always exactly the same on “Small & Delightful” show day? I have never known a Narrow Gauge South West at Shepton Mallet when it hasn't been bitterly cold outside, like a blast furnace inside and with
fiercely strong winter sunshine lancing through the south facing windows doing its upmost to ruin even the best roving reportage photographic efforts - and this year it was exactly the same for the umpteenth year running!

The programme announced that this was the 18th Small & Delightful "do"; not sure about this as last year it was apparently the 16th and the year before was definitely the 15th, and the 2007 event was the 14th! There were a number of other “typos” in the programme, so I think we can safely assume that it was actually the 17th NGSW! Doesn’t matter really does it!]

The other major change to the “tradition” of Shepton Mallet is that the world famous “Maggie & Flo’s Bistro” has now officially been renamed as “Penny & Flo’s Bistro”. Actually Maggie told me that she had not been involved with the bistro for 2 years now. It’s all academic to me anyway as yet again I didn’t have time to stop by and enjoy the delicious looking goodies on offer, but I know that hundreds of others did!

Above all else NGSW is the annual early spring meeting up of the like-minded afflicted to call the roll of those that made the effort to attend (over 800 including participants), enjoy the range of trade temptations and superb modelling and to catch up on topical gossip! Despite some late cancellations on both the trade and layout fronts, Chairman Alan Eadle, Exhibition Manager and Group Secretary Howard Martin, Car Parking Sergeant Major Barrie Baker and everyone else in the hard working S&D home team managed to put together another super show which covered the whole scale spectrum from "T" up to 16mm. 28 layouts altogether, just enough to wear me out completely trying to get round them all! I’ve tried to keep my photo selection concise but have still need a giant set of over 100 snaps to try to give a representative flavour of another great event and another super day out. If you haven't been to Shepton Mallet for NG South West yet, it's one that you really must do!


Tuesday 26 April 2011

17 January 2010, Beds & Bucks NG Modellers Members Open Day, Barton Le Clay

It has now become something of a tradition amongst those who “keep up with the curve” to find themselves halfway through January each year and already have 2 super narrow gauge modelling events under their belts. This year was no different, despite the weather and the cancellation of a couple of large commercial shows due mainly to the reluctance of some layout owners to risk travelling.

A couple of days before the Beds & Bucks NG Group members open day at Barton le Clay in Bedfordshire, organiser Mark Howe feared the worst as several of his own booked layouts cancelled, but the Group showed some good British Dunkirk spirit and rallied to the call-up of the reserves with a vengeance! So much so in fact that the final roll-call on the day found no less than 18 narrow gauge layouts, and not all of them tiny micro’s, being set up in the village hall. That is 2 more layouts than were presented at Expong folks!

Around 100 enthusiasts plus those who were participating made for another superb informal and friendly day out that the affiliated area groups of the 009 Society have become so successful at laying on. Full marks to all of the Beds and Bucks Group and to everyone who enjoyed the day. If you have not yet been to one of these smaller informal events, you really are missing out on enjoying the “core” of the hobby, whatever scale your modelling interests are.

Monday 25 April 2011

9 January 2010, SWOONS Members Open Day, Ilton, Somerset

New Year 2010 in the UK started with the coldest spell experienced for over 30 years accompanied by heavy snowfalls and treacherous ice which brought the whole country to a near standstill. They're made of good old fashioned Hardy (excuse the pun) stock down in the South Western counties though and undeterred by a bit of a cold snap, the South West 009 Society (SWOONS) area group made the brave decision to "keep calm and carry on". Although attendance was understandably lower than previous years, there were still some 40 narrow gauge modelling enthusiasts present, and I spotted friends and acquaintances from as far afield as Birmingham.

Another splendid way to start the year off amongst like-minded modellers in a relaxed, informal and friendly spirit. Much appreciation to all the SWOONS members and associates for their efforts in keeping the narrow gauge flag flying so strongly.

8 November 2009 - Northampton & District NG Modellers Open Day, Weedon Bec

Sunday 8th November and I found myself “on the road” at 0630 in a damp cold and gloomy November morning with Brian Guilmant and his 009 Society salesmobile heading north towards the village of Weedon Bec just off the A5 Watling Street Roman road for the 3rd biennial Northampton & District Narrow Gauge Modellers “members and friends open day”, another of those small narrow gauge area group organised events that features a variety of narrow gauge layouts where model railway enthusiasts who know what is good get together and enjoy a day of informal and friendly like-minded fellowship.

In this case around 100 people converged from all 4 points of the compass and I spotted fellow modelling acquaintances from central Wales, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Essex, the West Midlands, Hampshire, Dorset in the case of Brian and myself and of course adjoining midland counties! We arrived in good time to set up what was remaining of the sales after the locusts had descended at Expong the weekend before, and managed to devour the most enormous doorstep sausage and bacon sandwich that had been provided by the 5 star catering team of Julie Cope and colleagues. There were 10 ng layouts, 2 Society/Association sales stands, a 16mm scale display and a very good railway artist was also present (apologies for not noting his name – it wasn’t in the programme!). Some modellers wax lyrical about the “major” MRX’s, Warley, York etc, some consider that the only shows worth making the effort to travel to are the major ng shows such as Expong, Shepton Mallet and Sparsholt – which are actually all MUCH better than wasting huge entrance fees on the big mainstream shows, but for many of us, myself included, what the hobby is REALLY all about is the smaller friendly and informal area group members/open days that this one was such as good example of.

31 October 2009 - Expo Narrow Gauge, Swanley

Following the special circumstances of Expong 2008, this years’ event was always going to be something of an anti-climax from some perspectives, however although it was quite a “light” show with regards to the number of layouts attending: just 15 out of a total of 66 stands, it cannot be disputed that the quality of the layouts that were on show was extremely high. But Expong is not simply about the number of narrow gauge layouts that are exhibited; it is the undisputed magnet for all the specialist traders that support this end of the model railway spectrum and for everyone who is either involved in or a supporter of narrow gauge railways, full size and model, to meet up for both a major social gathering and to empty wallets before the money gets wasted on the family Christmas shopping!

I thoroughly enjoyed the day as I expected to and I would like to express my own appreciation to Hazel Brewer and her fellow Greenwich & District NG Society members for working so hard to both welcome arrivals on Friday night and Saturday morning and to maintain the hard work throughout the actual event to ensure that both participants and paying visitors enjoyed a splendidly organised and smooth running show.

Recently I had a page published in 009 News that included photos of some of the traders who support the hobby rather than the models themselves. This proved to be very popular so I have kept to this theme for the start of this report and have featured as wide a selection as I could showing some of the personalities that support narrow gauge modelling, and because I know that some people like to put faces to names. I hope this proves as popular as the 009 News article was and I apologise if I have inadvertently omitted anyone who should have been included – please let me know and I will try to get you in the lens next time!

Saturday 23 April 2011

15 August 2009 - Wiltshire Group 009 Society Members Day and MOMING 09, Pewsey

The 12th biennial event organised by the Wiltshire Group of the 009 Society, and the 3rd occasion that they had hosted the "exhibition within an exhibition" "Modelling the Minimum Gauge" (MOMING), ably coordinated by well-known minimum gauge modeller and enthusiast, Christopher Payne.

With 9 009 layouts, 8 "MOMING" in various scales between 09 and 1:22.5, an outstanding display of 15mm scale Irish NG models by John Campbell and Neil Ramsay, a very good presence from the specialist trade support (much appreciated chaps!) covering both 009 and MOMING specialities, and probably the best, stickiest and sweetest lardy cake that I have ever sampled, it all added up to another memorable, friendly, informal and enjoyable day out in deepest Wiltshire - an experience shared by over 200 other narrow gauge modellers who travelled considerable distances in some cases to be there. If you could have gone but didn't bother, you really should put Pewsey in your diary for next time - but you will have to wait until 2011!

Friday 22 April 2011

19 July 2009 - More County Donegal Delights at the Bradford on Avon MRX

Although Andy Cundick had announced that his 00n3 County Donegal layout "Letterkenny" was having its final outing before retirement at the Donegal MRX in May (covered in my earlier collection), he decided to give it "just one more showing" at the Bradford on Avon show on 19 July, and as I live within an hour's drive, I just had to make the effort to snap up some of the stuff I had missed before whilst there was still an opportunity to see this super layout!

An added bonus that I discovered on arrival was the presence of 2 more excellent narrow gauge layouts, both in unusual scales: Christopher Payne's 1:34 scale St Pierre et La Rue Perrin and William Loyd's Sn3 (1:64 scale on 14.2mm gauge track) Oro Grande Railroad. Although the primary purpose of my visit to Bradford on Avon was to take a last chance to capture some more photos of Letterkenny, I have also included a small selection of snaps of these 2 layouts - they are both far too good to ignore!

23-24 May 2009 - A Weekend In Donegal

Well, after I had given my County Donegal Railways inspired 009 railcars and Irish cattle train a run through Ted Polet's Rae Bridge at the 009 Society AGM and Charlie Insley had described it as "A Hibernian moment", there was nothing for it really but to load the camera into the car and head off across the Irish Sea in order to attend the model railway exhibition that the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre manager, Ann Temple, and her staff had been working very hard to organise in order to publicise the ongoing project that the CDRRL has to recreate a little bit of the County Donegal Railways by building a tourist railway through the Barnesmore Gap, a few miles out of Donegal on the old line to Stranorlar.

I managed to dovetail a couple of visits to the exhibition in over the weekend with a pre-arranged "grand road trip to Ireland" with my son, and because of the very tight schedule, my presence with camera in front of the layouts was always going to be rather rushed, but despite that I managed to capture a goodly number of geranium red and cream flavoured images, which I am pleased to share with those interested in such things here....

The only disappointments were 2 "no-shows" of booked narrow gauge layouts that let down both the travelling visitors (such as myself) and Ann Temple and her team. One layout owner pulled out at a late stage after publicity had already been placed in the modelling press, whilst a club owned layout of Fivemiletown on the Clogher Valley, which I was particularly looking forward to seeing, turned out on the day to be an 00 gauge "tail chaser" layout complete with Thomas the Tank! When tasked about this, the club spokesperson simply stated that "they had brought Fivemiletown to the Donegal exhibition last year and thought they would bring one of their other layouts this time to make a change". Wrong answer guys and both the organiser and visitors who had paid a lot of money to attend (eg me) were not very happy bunnies at all.

However, those layout owners that did make the effort to attend more than compensated for that let-down. For me, the highlight of the trip was an opportunity to see some of the 5mm scale models made by George Hanan in the 1950's and 60's which are on permanent display in the Heritage Centre. Photographing these models was certainly a bit of a challenge, but I think  that I managed to capture a good representation in this collection. See Railway Modeller July 1959 and March 1963 to learn about George Hanan's County Donegal Railway models!

9 May 2009 - 009 Society AGM & Members Day, Edlington, South Yorkshire

For some reason the 9th of May was a particularly popular one in the narrow gauge calendar, with the NG Railway Society and the 7mm NGA also having their AGM's. However about 100 009 Society members put these distractions to one side and found their way to the outskirts of Doncaster and enjoyed a really splendid informal, very well organised and friendly event - despite having to stop the main business of the day for 90 minutes whilst the formal proceedings of the AGM took place.

After several years of 009 Society AGM's not making it further north than Birmingham, it was a pleasure to be back in Yorkshire this year (and I remembered to pack an extra jumper and snow chains just in case.....). I noticed that I was not the only lunatic to have vacated my warm bed in Dorset at 3 AM in order to be there, as I spotted fellow members from Exeter, Bristol, Somerset and Croydon as well as those from north of the Watford Gap who had easier journeys and didn't have to worry about having their visas validated at M1 junction 15A "gateway to the frozen north".

10 layouts were assembled by the co-hosting South Yorkshire and Lampoons (Leeds & Morley) Groups, from east and west of the Pennines and Tyneside, plus a special guest appearance of Ted Polet and his brother Marcel, who had brought the Rae Bridge module of Ted's famous Craigcorrie & Dunalistair Railway across from Leiden in Holland. It was very fitting that at the AGM, Ted was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the 009 Society in recognition of the outstanding contribution he has made to the 009 Society and narrow gauge modelling in general over many years. A very worthy and popular accolade.

The only problem encountered on the day, besides the little one of staying awake on the homeward drive, was the bright sunlight coming through the large windows of the school hall venue, causing some challenges to photography - well that was my excuse for some of the very grainy and washed out images that were the best that I could achieve from the almost silhouette starkness of the originals! Nevertheless, I hope that I have managed to salvage a reasonable selection here to give a fair impression of what was a really grand day

19 April 2009 - Narrow Gauge at Wimborne Model Railway Exhibition

With no specialist narrow gauge modelling events scheduled for April this year, there was a possibility of a photo famine, but fortunately, the excellent biennial Wimborne MRX, thanks to a heavy narrow gauge following in the ranks of the hosts, the Wimborne Railway Society, can be relied upon to come up with the goods and this year was no exception, with 4 good layouts providing welcome relief amongst the engines with milk churns instead of brass domes on top of their boilers (picture a a GWR loco.....) and (horrors!) - DCC modern image with authentic diesel sound effects - arrgh!

For our delectation and delight, we had: Roy Wood's 0-16.5 Crichel and Peter Hollins' 0-14 Norden Mine in 7mm scale, with the still-growing 30 feet plus of the host Society's Tarrant Valley and John Thorne's Purbeck in 009. I've photographed all of these layouts before, but still welcomed the opportunity to point the camera at them again, particularly Crichel, which I've snapped about 4 times previously since 2003, each time unsuccessfully! Norden provided a further opportunity to supplement a single visit at the Weymouth MRX in October 2007 (Volume 4), whilst both Tarrant Valley and Purbeck had a number of new items of rolling stock previously un-snapped. I hope there is something in my selection to please most of you!

Thursday 21 April 2011

7 March 2009 - Sussex Downs 009 Group Members Day, Haywards Heath

Another 009 Society area group event, the 3rd this year, following the same successful formula used by the SWOONS and Beds & Bucks Groups in January - a selection of layouts provided by Group members and invited friends, some trade support from Meridian Models and Nigel Lawton in this case, Brian Guilmant and team with the aladdin's cave known as 009 Society Members Sales and a very well organised refreshments facility. Mix all together with friendly informality and ambient fellowship, add around 100 attenders and you have a great day out!
This little event was very well organised by Tim Sanderson and a hard working team from the hosting group and was attended by many narrow gauge modellers "in the know" who had travelled long distances in some cases to be there. If you haven't managed to get to one of these informal group days and it is practicable for you to do so then you really should put it in your diary and make it a priority to attend - so much better in many ways than the big shows. I hope my photo selection gives something of a taste of most of the good modelling that was there to be enjoyed. Congratulations Sussex Downs Group, looking forward to the next one already!

21 February 2009 - Narrow Gauge South West, Shepton Mallet

A bright spring day and huge numbers of narrow gauge modelling enthusiasts headed for Shepton Mallet in Somerset for the 16th annual modelfest splendidly organised by the hard working Small & Delightful team. Delightful it certainly was, small it certainly wasn't with over 30 layouts present in all scales from 2mm to 16mm and an attendance by just about all the UK based specialist narrow gauge modelling traders, including Parkside Dundas all the way from Kirkcaldy, in Fife, 450 miles and 10 hours drive away.

Many people that I spoke to considered that this was the best NGSW yet and the 009 Society reported record sales figures. I noticed that the crowds around the 7mm NGA stand were much deeper than usual as well. I think everyone must be spending their pounds while they still have some value left!

My only disappointment was that there was so much to see and it was such a challenge getting the camera lens through the crowds and in front of layouts that I did not have time to do my customary quality control check on the famous cake selection available at "The Bistro". Such sacrifice in the cause of keeping up with the demand for photos, I hope that you agree that it was worth the effort as I snapped some really good models, despite having to abandon plans for posed photos with the camera on the tripod etc and just "point and shoot". I hope you enjoy my selection of what there was to see on the day anyway.

18 January 2009 - Beds & Bucks NG Modellers Members Open Day, Barton Le Clay

The second narrow gauge modelling-fest in successive weeks, and it is still January! Sunday 18th Jan found me and my new camera (a Fuji S100FS - fantastic value for money, and great results, despite it being me pressing the buttons!) in Bedfordshire at Barton Le Clay village hall, where about 100 participants, "support staff" and visitors arrived to enjoy one of those well organised, informal and friendly events amongst a selection of really top quality narrow gauge model railway layouts that has become a hallmark of the 009 Society particularly in recent years. Brian Guilmant enhanced the proceedings of course by bringing the fantastic members sales operation up from his home in Dorset, which filled a complete room in the hall.

Appreciation is extended to Mark Howe and his fellow group members for the huge effort put in to ensure that this was a really "grand day out". Well worth the longish and ever-more expensive journey and very much up to the high standard that we enjoyed at last year's successful event at the same venue. Thanks to you all!

10 January 2009 - SWOONS Members Open Day, Ilton, Somerset

The South West Area Group of the 009 Society (SWOONS) held their 3rd Members Open Day at the Merryfield Hall in the small village of Ilton, between Yeovil and Taunton in Somerset (and the second that I have covered in this Volume) and again what a super way to start the new year and meet up with the 80-plus narrow gauge modelling enthusiasts, or simply curious who attended to take part in another of the regular small informal and friendly village hall experiences that has by now become an established and enviable series of events within the 009 Society.
I counted 13 exhibits ranging from a micro "pizza" and a Gn15 mini-diorama through to full sized layouts that had been provided by SWOONS members and supplemented by friends from the Wessex NG Modellers, an excellent buffet service run by Moreen Golding and her team and the world famous travelling 009 Society Sales courtesy of Brian Guilmant. If you live in the UK and think that these little events are not worth travelling to get to, the 80-odd who did come to rural Somerset for this occasion had travelled from: Yorkshire, Essex, Surrey, West Midlands, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Avon, Devon, Cornwall, Hampshire and Dorset (and these were just the people I know!) as well as the home county.
A very enjoyable, informal and friendly day, that was superbly organised by an enthusiastic and hard-working Group. Thanks to you all and I look forward to the next one!

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Charlie Insley's 009 Trains, 1998 to 2008

In an 009 News in 2008, fellow 009 Society member and modelling colleague, Dr Charles Insley, described me as "Society basher-in-chief" in an article describing how he had evolved my own railcar kitbashing style to produce his own articulated railcar based on a Dapol Park Royal 00 scale railbus kit. Whilst I take this as a great compliment, I regard being described thus by Charles as being akin to a comparison between the Dorset Amateur (me) and the European Champions (Charles) leagues, so in order to give a correct perspective to the very prolific, imaginative and skilled output of what must be one of the, if not the, most active modelmakers in the world of 009 narrow gauge modelling I have put together a collection of photos that I have taken at model railway exhibitions over the years of just some of Charles' many items of 009 rolling stock.

I first met Charles and Elizabeth Insley in 1998 at an 009 Society members day in St Helens and since then have accumulated a hefty collection of photographs of their several layouts that I have taken at various narrow gauge model railway events.

This gallery acts as something of a tribute to Charlie's superb skill at model railway stock building from assembling and detailing kits through adapting kits and "kitbashes" to models that have totally scratchbuilt bodies. This gallery merely scratches the surface; I have generally only covered locomotives and railcars, and even then my photos do not come close to covering the whole of Charlie's collection. In addition to the 009 models featured here, there are also an impressive number of models of Irish 3ft gauge prototypes modelled in 3mm scale (TTn3).

Generally I have attempted to provide just one photo of each model that I have managed to photograph, however there are some duplications which I have retained as they show different angles to a subject or may feature a locomotive with different rolling stock etc.

I hope you enjoy this selection and if you are an 009 modeller that you may find more than a little in the area of good ideas and inspiration for your own modelling.

1 November 2008 - John Varley's Ghylldale Light Railway at Leeds Model Railway Exhibition

John Varley's Ghylldale has always been one of my favourite 009 exhibition layouts and I will not hesitate to grab an opportunity to see it if at all possible. Unfortunately however John's home in Leeds and my own in Dorset are some 280 miles apart, but the runes came together on the 1st of November as my wife and I had arranged to travel to Huddersfield to visit a family friend at just the same time that John was exhibiting Ghylldale at Leeds Grammar School - only some 25 miles away from where we were visiting. A lucky coincidence or a triumph of covert logistic planning? Who cares, I managed to get my camera in front of Ghylldale anyway and it was "only" a 17 hour round trip and 600 miles in foul weather to do it! Of course it was worth it, how else are you going to see photos of this attractive layout anyway.......

Tuesday 5 April 2011

25 October 2008 - Expo Narrow Gauge, Swanley

ExpoNG is always a special event in the NG modelling calendar, but this year it was more so than usual - the 40th anniversary of the Greenwich & District NG Society, who organise the event, plus the 25th ExpoNG, and a particularly poignant event due to the recent tragic loss of long-term G&DNGS Chairman, Dave Brewer. Dave was a larger than life character who was at the forefront of both narrow gauge modelling and involvement with the full sized versions, in this country and in France. Everyone who has anything to do with the hobby will at least know of Dave even if they did not know him personally, his presence will be sadly missed.

The show this year marked a special effort by all who participated to pay tribute to the memory of Dave and to support Hazel and Stuart, who courageously decided to continue fully in the organisation of this special show. I certainly thought that the event this year was a very good one, and everybody that I know who attended had the same feelings. If you didn't manage to be there, hopefully my selection of photos will provide a glimpse of the range of top quality modelling in a wide spread of scales that was present.

Monday 4 April 2011

27 September 2008 - Small & Delightful Railway Group Open Day, Walton

The Small & Delightful Railway Group are a group of friends interested in narrow gauge railways and railway modelling who organise the narrow gauge modelling extravaganza at Shepton Mallet every February which is variously known as "Narrow Gauge South West" (NGSW) and "The Small & Delightful Show". Because the team are fully tasked running what has become one of the largest narrow gauge shows that there is, they don't get time to enjoy showing their own layouts or merely chatting to like-minded visitors to the show, so once every two years, they get together to run their own layouts and those of invited friends.

"Delightful" the day certainly is, and "small" is an accurate description of the location, at the village hall in Walton, near Street, in deepest Somerset; but "small" is not a word that can really be used for the show itself, which this year featured no less than 20 layouts in a wide variety of scales and gauges.

A really splendid day, with all that is best about this type of informal, friendly "do" and I for one am very glad that I made the effort to attend and join the other 160 or so (plus around 40 participating) people who came from as far away as Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Essex to join in. Great stuff, great people, great refreshments provided by Glastonbury and Street Lions, and the only down side is that we have to wait another 2 years before we can do it again!

13 - 14 September 2008 - Moors Valley Narrow Gauge Model Weekend

The Wimborne Railway Society, who also have several Moors Valley volunteers amongst their members, laid on a Narrow Gauge Model weekend in the extended carriage shed, courtesy of Jim Haylock, and to supplement the 7 layouts on show, members of the Wessex Narrow Gauge brought 3 layouts along.
A rare occasion in that the sun actually came out, which helped to boost the steady stream of visitors throughout the weekend and a spendid informal and friendly time was had by all who either attended or took part.
The event was heralded as the final public showing of Tim Couling's 009 layout Port St George, and to mark the occasion, Port St George was joined to the Tarrant Valley, making a double-L or Z shaped layout well over 30ft long. However, I have photographed the "final" public appearance of Port St George on at least 3 previous occasions over the past 10 years, so don't be surprised if you see this very attractive layout again sometime in the future although Tim was adamant that this time he really meant it when he said the layout was being retired! Here's a short selection of photos taken on the Saturday.

19 August 2008 - A Visit to John Thorne's Purbeck

Whilst most of my narrow gauge model railway photos are quick snaps taken at shows, I always try to take up opportunities to capture some, hopefully, better quality and less rushed posed photos if I am invited to visit a layout "at home". I had previously photographed John Thorne's Scrubbs Lane/The Maltings layout successfully, the results supplementing an article he wrote for 009 News a couple of years ago, so I was very pleased to be invited to take another set of photos of his latest (and many think, best) layout - Purbeck, again to supplement a forthcoming article that John is preparing for 009 News.
This is a really superb little layout, of the "freelance but totally credible" school, representing the clay mining industry in Dorset during a loosely defined period encompassing the 1950's and 60's. John has extensively researched the prototype and incorporated a huge amount of authentic detail in this highly imaginative, yet very credible layout - all created to the highest standards of modelling.
The layout made its public debut at Narrow Gauge South, Sparsholt in March 2008 and some initial photos appear in my earlier report of that event in this gallery. Hopefully this little set will provide a further inducement to attract followers of the very best narrow gauge layouts. Purbeck is set to become one of the best known and most popular layouts on the exhibition scene - well worth a long and lingering look if you learn of it appearing at a show near you!

Sunday 3 April 2011

16 August 2008 - Narrow Gauge Midlands & 009 Society EGM, Birmingham

After an absence of specialist ng modelling shows to attend for nearly 5 months, since the outstanding NGS at Sparsholt in March, at last here was an opportunity to "fill the gap" with a super selection of small scale layouts at an 009 Society members day, hosted by the West Midlands Group with stewarding assistance from the M5/M50 NG Modellers at Girl Guide HQ, Trefoil House, close to the centre of Birmingham.

The reason for the event was to provide for an Extraordinary General Meeting called by the 009 Society in order to elect a new Chairman and Secretary. Suffice to say that, despite the formalities of an EGM, it was still very much an informal fun day which the 70 or so 009 Society members that attended all appeared to enjoy themselves immensely. I know I did!

 A good venue for this type of "do" and some splendid refreshments laid on by the Guide organisation, who benefitted from the legendary huge appetities of the train people to the tune of some £400 - everyone went home happy, and some went home very full of cake!

 Here is a selection of snaps that I took on the day, hopefully showing a good representation of the layouts that attended.

Saturday 2 April 2011

29 March 2008 - Narrow Gauge South, Sparsholt College, Winchester

The 009 Society AGM and the biennial NG South, organised and hosted by the Wessex NG Modellers, was this year the biggest NGS ever and possibly the largest specialist one-day NG modelling event there has ever been (so far). With it being predominately an 009 event, naturally the smaller scales were in the majority, but there were still 9 larger scale layouts, mainly 7mm, not including the additional ones provided by traders. In the 3½ and 4mm scale families there were no less than 27 layouts!

OK, "biggest" is not always "best", but the general feedback certainly indicated that the popular feeling was that Sparsholt this year was indeed "best" - many of the layouts were classics in their own right and have appeared at other shows individually as "the star layout" - to have so many coralled together at once was absolutely fantastic. In addition and to provide variety there were also many layouts on show for the first time, some of which such as John Thorne's new Purbeck are surely destined to become highly sought after by exhibition managers seeking crowd-pulling attractions in the future.

A great day and special thanks to the Wessex NGM Committee, in particular the show organiser, Howard Coulson, for laying on such a marvellous opportunity to gather together some of the most popular NG layouts that exist, all under one roof at the same time.

Obviously with a show this big and only a few hours available to get round, some compromises have to be taken and in my case it was one of abandoning the tripod and remote shutter cable and rushing around taking opportunistic snaps of as much as I could. Consequently some of the photos are not "my best results" but I decided that on this occasion, quantity would be better than attempts at quality, so here is my selection of over 100 snaps in a quest to try to show a selection of as many of the layouts that attended as possible. I hope you enjoy them!

16 February 2008 - Narrow Gauge South West, Shepton Mallet

The Small & Delightful Group's 15th super narrow gauge modelling event once again got the mainstream shows kick-started into another season with another huge variety of all that is best in narrow gauge modelling between 2 and 16mm scales, with something of nearly everything in between included.

The usual successful recipe was followed - the famous bistro, nearly all the specialist traders in the narrow gauge sector of the hobby, full sales stands from both the 009 and the 7mm NGA and 26 top quality layouts in all the scales.

The well-known and established friendly and informal atmosphere prevailed throughout the day as narrow gauge modellers came from all points of the compass to brush off the winter cobwebs, renew acquaintances and generally enjoy the day. Well over 500 through the door before lunch and I must admit, it was a bit crowded at times during the morning, and the infamous Shepton Mallet sunbeams came through the south facing main hall glass wall to provide the usual challenge to photography.

A great day however and a superb way of getting us all prepared for an even bigger show this year, at NG South in late March.

20 January 2008 - Beds & Bucks NG Modellers Members Open Day, Barton Le Clay

The second area group narrow gauge event of the year, a week after the SWOONS event, and this one followed the same successful formula - an excellently equipped village hall, a splendid array of refreshments provided by the hard working support ladies, Brian Guilmant and his team with the 009 Society Sales and this time 7 excellent narrow gauge layouts which covered the full spectrum in 009 - vintage 009 with Varikits and Jouef Decauville locos with Talybont Junction, fully up-to-date DCC-equipped locos on the Isle of Mudd, heritage 009 in the form of Upton Dale which featured in Railway Modeller and the late lamented Model Railway Constructor in the 1980's, a current "celebrity" layout straight from a recent appearance in Railway Modeller in the form of the Whitsend Tramway, and exquisite little industrial locos on the Holbeach Estate Railway.

All in all it was an outstanding day out, well worth the trouble taken to get there and all of the 90 or so narrow gauge enthusiasts who made the effort, some travelling considerable distances, (only 130 miles each way for me - almost a "home event"!), enjoyed yet another warm, friendly and informal narrow gauge modelling experience.

12 January 2008 - SWOONS Members Open Day, Ilton, Somerset

The South West Area Group of the 009 Society (SWOONS) held their 2nd Members Open Day at a new venue, Ilton Village Hall and what a splendid way this was to brush off the winter blues and meet up with the 80 or so like-minded narrow gauge modelling fraternity who braved the floods to visit this ideal location for another of the small informal and friendly events that are rapidly becoming a hallmark of the 009 Society.

8 layouts provided by SWOONS members and friends, a splendid buffet service run by the SWOONS chapter of the Train Widows Society and the world famous travelling 009 Society Sales courtesy of Brian Guilmant. What more could a narrow gauge modeller want on a damp winter Saturday........

A very successful day, courtesy of the well organised and hard-working Group

The Last Post!

Well actually it is the First Post, but because the blogsite publishes most recent first, then new postings are added strictly sequentially before old postings, so the oldest one (this one) appears right at the end. Got it? Well don't try to scroll down any further because there ain't no more!

Here's  me doing what I spend most of my time at an event doing! One of these days I really do intend to go to a show without the camera and then I might actually be able to enjoy looking at the models rather than what they look like through a viewfinder! But that is another story and one for the future hopefully!

If you have got this far by looking at every report on the way down the page, I do hope you have enjoyed them. I look forward to meeting up with many of you at future narrow gauge model railway specialist events.